Like many other Americans, I feel that Jonathan Pollard, who is now serving 25 years in prison, did not harm the United States or any of its agents in any way. He merely gave classified information to help Israel, an alley, protect and defend itself against its many foes. CIA officer Aldrich Ames, on the other hand, was a traitor as he gave information to the Soviet Union, an enemy of the U.S. He was responsible for the torture, imprisonment, and deaths of CIA agents.
While there were thousands of people who have either written letters, signed petitions, made phone calls, etc., I would like to call attention to the comments of several prominent and respected Americans who have called for Pollard’s release:
- New York Senator Charles Schumer reviewed the classified Pollard file and stated “there is nothing in it to justify the harsh and unprecedented sentence that Pollard is serving.”
- Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz of Harvard University stated in a letter to the editor of the Jewish Press on Aug. 25, 1995, “Our government broke its promise to Pollard and sentenced him to a disproportionately long prison term.”
- Appellate Court Judge Stephen Williams declared in 1992 that the case should be given to another judge and the sentence should be reviewed since “a fundamental miscarriage of justice had occurred.”
- Benjamin L. Hooks, chief executive officer of the NAACP, said: “I have rarely encountered a case in which government arbitrariness was so clear cut and inexcusable.”
- Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (Ill.) said: “I believe that Mr. Pollard’s sentence should be commuted to time already served on humanitarian grounds. Mr. Pollard pled guilty to spying for Israel, a friend and ally to the U.S. In light of his guilty plea and his cooperation with the government, Mr. Pollard’s continued imprisonment should be reconsidered.”
- Morton A. Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, said Pollard’s “sentencing judge may have been unfairly influenced by a letter from then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger that used the term “treason” even though Mr. Pollard was neither indicted nor convicted of treason, nor damaging the security of the U.S.”
Three members of the U.S. House of Representative — Bill Pascrell, Jr., Barney Frank, and Anthony Weiner — have joined together stating that Pollard’s life sentence was excessive. They also enlisted 39 other members of the House to go along with them. Therefore, in all fairness, President Obama ought to grant clemency now. It is long overdue.